John Moore, pre-eminent harvester of Hong Kong’s biggest prizes, is back at Meydan in search yet another major title.
And, buoyed by saddling the first two past the post in last Sunday’s Hong Kong Derby, he is not short of confidence when appraising the prospects of Not Listenin’tome (AUS) in the Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Meydan Hotels and Hospitality.
“I won the Golden Shaheen two years ago with Sterling City but I’d say this horse is in even better condition,” the veteran Australian-born handler said.
“He looks terrific, he has got that golden sheen to his coat. Kelvin, his work rider, said he felt 200 per cent in his jump-out on the turf this morning.”
Hong Kong-based sprinters are, rightly, renowned for their prowess worldwide and this Group 1 down the Meydan stretch has twice fallen to emissaries from Sha Tin in the past four years via Joy And Fun (2012) and Amber Sky (2014).
Don’t be surprised if that record is enhanced on Saturday courtesy of either Not Listenin’tome or his rival, the Hong Kong Sprint champion Peniaphobia (IRE).
“There isn’t much between the two of those horses, but over 1000m I think my horse is better. The only time they met at the distance our horse came out on top. It is interesting that they are drawn beside each other so I think they will be upsides as they track the leaders,” Moore predicted.
“But the form of Not Listenin’tome is excellent. He very nearly broke the 1000m track record in Hong Kong last time out at this distance and that was carrying 133lbs. When you consider the quality of sprinters that Hong Kong has had over many years, that was a huge effort.
“Zac Purton got off him that day and said he was still a run short of his best so we have put the finishing touches on him. Now we have Ryan Moore on our side and there aren’t many better in the saddle than Ryan.”
Should Not Listenin’tome perform to expectations on Saturday, a trip to Royal Ascot for the King’s Stand Stakes could well be in the offing.
“I have unfinished business at that meeting after a couple of disappointments,” the trainer concluded. “I would dearly love to win there but first things first. This is the biggest stage in the world and we need to win here at Meydan. I really think we can. This is a serious Group 1 horse.”